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Skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis), the smallest of the commercial tuna species, form both free schools and schools associated with floating objects.

In: FAO Species Catalogue, Vol. 2. Scombrids of the World (1983). Courtesy of Fisheries and Aquaculture Department/Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Found mainly in the tropical areas of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, skipjack are the principal species associated with FADs and are caught in conjunction with juvenile yellowfin and bigeye tunas.

Skipjack accounted for about 57% of the 5.1-million-tonne global tuna catch in 2021.

Species Characteristics

  Size (cm) Weight (kg) Age (yrs)
Common 40–80    
Maximum 108  33  6–10
Maturity 43 1.6 1–1.5
Generation Length


Geographic Limits

  • 55–60° N and 45–50° S
  • The greatest abundance is seen in equatorial waters

Species Management

The following five skipjack stocks are assessed and managed by the RFMOs:

  • Eastern Atlantic
  • Western Atlantic
  • Eastern Pacific
  • Western Pacific
  • Indian Ocean

Skipjack Tuna Stock Status

Our Status of the Stocks report summarizes the status of skipjack tuna worldwide according to the most recent scientific assessments. The report includes:

  • Catch data
  • Graphics and charts
  • Ratings on stock abundance, fishing mortality, and fishing’s environmental or bycatch impact

It also reviews the management measures for skipjack that Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) have adopted.


Interactive Stock Status and Catch Tool

Use our interactive data-visualization tool to create and then download or share graphics on tuna stock status.

You can visualize data on 23 commercial tuna stocks (by species and ocean area) share of total catch, stock health trends, and catch trends over time.

ISSF 2023-02: An Evaluation of the Sustainability of Global Tuna Stocks Relative to Marine Stewardship Council Criteria

The Marine Stewardship Council scoring system was used to evaluate 23 stocks of tropical and temperate tunas, including the bluefin tuna stocks (added in 2021), throughout the world.

Skipjack Stock Health & Catch Trends

Use our “Interactive Stock Status and Catch Tool” to visualize, download, and share data about skipjack tuna:

  • Stock health since 2011
  • Current catch by fishing method
  • Catch trends by fishing method since 1950

Tuna Conservation

Our research and advocacy work aims to ensure, on a global level, that tuna resources are well managed and protected from overfishing.

Tuna Stock Evaluations

An ISSF report uses the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) scoring system to evaluate both the health and RFMO management of 23 tuna stocks worldwide, including bluefin.